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Sexting, Weiner and other bad ideas

Sep 21, 20164 mins
IT SkillsSecurity

When I was a kid I was always flirting with the edge of trouble. I was really fortunate that I had strong guidance and good friends that helped to keep me from getting into any real sort of trouble. But, not everyone was so lucky. But, for a lot people that I knew who got themselves into trouble their misdeeds vanished into the mists of time.

There was no social media, no websites and well, no Internet. Hindsight being what it is I’m very happy that I was born when I was and avoided the complications of the modern world. Take for example the famous story of Kevin Colvin who was an intern at Anglo Irish Bank. In 2007 he told his manager that he had miss work due to an apparent family emergency. This came apart when Colvin posted pictures of himself at a Halloween party which he was attending when he was allegedly dealing with family matters.

This was the first of literally thousands of social media related whoops factors that have played out over the years since the Colvin incident. In almost every case the overlying theme was the absence of anything akin to common sense. Back in 2007 as an example, Facebook didn’t have much in the way of privacy controls. That notwithstanding, he got pinched for having made a poor decision.

Kids make poor choices. Especially if they do not have the support and guidance of their elders and peers. Now, when we overlay the landscape of 2016 we see that these bad behaviors can be amplified in the worst way. As well, we need to consider that the Internet never forgets.

Keeping that in mind the the NHS has released advice on how to deal with sexting. This is characterized by the sending of inappropriate images or text typically via SMS messages.

From BBC:

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “Inquisitive behaviour is a normal part of growing up and it is natural for children to ask about different body parts or be curious about the differences between girls and boys.

“However there is also a minority of children and young people who engage in sexual behaviour that is not appropriate for their age or development.

Not only can it be harmful for their development but, it could potentially follow them throughout their lives. This is not something that I would have considered when I was a teenager had I been in a similar situation.

It could be worse if you are/were in politics…

From New York Post:

Anthony Weiner spent months sexting with an underage girl he tried to lure into “rape fantasies,” it was revealed Wednesday — and the ex-pol’s new low could send him to the slammer.

The 15-year-old high school student went public with a trove of lurid come-ons she got from Weiner, who exchanged his “Carlos Danger” persona for the alias “T Dog” to send her kinky texts and shirtless selfies over a cell-phone messenger app.

15 years old. Um, I’m hazarding that Weiner may be possibly facing some jail time for that one in the event that this is a real incident and she was in fact a minor. They apparently used several different messaging applications to communicate including Confide Messenger which apparently deletes images after they are sent and does not permit screen captures. The root of the issues however is that this is an adult who should have known better. No matter what, it’s clear that Weiner needs to seek professional help.

The type problem isn’t going to go away any time soon when you consider that publications like Cosmopolitan which play up this phenomenon. Example, “Anyone who’s ever received a late night “I want my dick all over your stuff” text knows that sexting is truly an art.” This isn’t helpful.

Talk with your teens and your friends. Sending pictures of genitalia or text you wouldn’t want your parents to read to other people over a medium that you do not control is a recipe for disaster. Think of the mental impact on yourself and others and how this could impact your future.

The Internet never forgets.


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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